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I'm awfully fond of seared tuna, and I have the recipe down pat. However, I'm rarely 100% satisfied with the results searing part- I typically overshoot on the thickness of the cooked layer. For the record, I use a sesame-crusted recipe, and usually use previously-frozen tuna that I've let thaw completely. Any tips or suggestions?

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With seared Tuna the point is to create a charred crust while leaving the inside mostly raw. It's very similar to cooking a steak rare in that the secret is a very hot pan and a short amount of time. So get your pan as hot as you can, coat the cooking surfaces of the tuna steaks with a bit of oil with a high smoke point (corn, canola, peanut - not olive oil or walnut oil), then fry the tuna for as little time as you can get away with. I'd think 45-60 seconds per side. In case you are wondering the oil forms a good heat contact with the tuna, improving conductivity, it's not for any flavor effect.

Now you may have a stove that doesn't get the pan hot enough in which case it takes too long to form a crust and the inside cooks more than you like, in which case you can try:

  • Not letting the tuna thaw completely. If it's still a teensy bit frozen in the middle the heat from the cooking will thaw it, not cook it. You could also try it straight out of the fridge
  • Use a cooking torch. You can also use a plumbing torch, it's the same thing except much cheaper
  • Excellent, thanks for the input! My stove does get hot enough, but the (electric) burners are somewhat problematic, and the oil will smoke excessively and the tuna burns if I turn the heat up past 7. I'll try leaving the meat partially frozen next, and might try the cooking torch if I'm entertaining guests :D – player3 May 3 '14 at 19:27
  • My experience is that smoke cannot be avoided if you want a good sear on anything. Maybe some day I can afford a restaurant quality kitchen fan, but for now when I sear steaks and want to do it properly I always move our cats to a different room, open all the windows and even pull out the batteries from the smoke detectors in the kitchen. :) A lot of work, but sometimes it is worth it to get that perfect crust. – Henrik Söderlund May 4 '14 at 20:01
  • I fully agree, Henrik, but unfortunately my smoke alarm does not. Also, GdD, leaving the tuna somewhat frozen seems to work quite well! Thanks again. – player3 May 5 '14 at 2:08
  • Great to hear @player3! – GdD May 5 '14 at 8:33

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